WSF Update: Much Ado About Nothing

2 May 2012

World Shakespeare Festival Update
Paul Bhattacharjee to play Benedick opposite Meera Syel's Beatrice in new RSC production of Much Ado About Nothing set in India

Much Ado about Nothing
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Iqbal Khan
Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon: 26 July to 15 September 2012
Press Night:  Wednesday 1 August, 2012
Noel Coward Theatre, London: 24 September to 27 October 2012
The London season is supported by BP, Founding Presenting Partner of the World Shakespeare Festival

Paul Bhattacharjee has been cast as Benedick opposite Meera Syal's Beatrice in Much Ado about Nothing - Shakespeare's comedy of love and deceit for the Royal Shakespeare Company.  The play is part of the World Shakespeare Festival produced by the RSC, and will open in the RSC's Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon on 26 July before transferring to the West End in September.

Directed by Iqbal Khan, this vibrant and colourful new production is set in modern-day India.  The set is designed by Olivier Award winning RSC Associate Designer Tom Piper and the Costume Designer is Delhi based Himani Dehlvi. 

Audiences will step into India as soon as they enter through the doors of the Courtyard Theatre – with awnings and stalls, Indian music, and a large tree dominating the stage. Tom Piper, who is also working alongside the team designing Shakespeare: Staging the World - The BP Exhibition at the British Museum as part of the World Shakespeare Festival is documenting his design process for the show (including a visit to India) on http://www.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk/news/1693.aspx.

Wolverhampton born writer, actor and comedian Meera Syal makes her RSC debut with this production.  She is probably best known for her comedy work on TV, radio and film – which includes Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at Number 42.  Meera can be seen in East is East writer, Ayub Khan-Din's new film, All in Good Time, based on his popular play, Rafta Rafta.

Meera Syal said:  'Paul Bhattacharjee is a wonderful actor whom I've known for 20 years. We have only played opposite each other once before - in 1992 in a BBC film called My Sister Wife, which was also my first screenplay as a writer.  We played husband and wife then but with a far less happy ending than in Much Ado!'

Paul Bhattacharjee's previous work for the RSC includes Dominic Cooke's Arabian Nights and Gregory Doran's 2002 Jacobethan Season in The Swan and Gielgud Theatres – including Edward III and The Island Princess.  Other theatre includes: The Bomb and The Great Game at the Tricycle Theatre, Disconnect, Blood and Iranian Nights at the Royal Court, A Disappearing Number for Theatre Complicite, Playing with Fire at the National and Blood Wedding at the Almeida.  His TV credits include: The Jury, Any Human Heart, Eastenders, Waking the Dead and Spooks.  Films include:  White Teeth, Dirty Pretty Things, Jinnah and Wild West. Paul is a regular in the BBC Asian network series, Silver Street.

Iqbal Khan's recent credits include Broken Glass at the Tricycle Theatre and The Killing of Sister George at the Arts Theatre in London in which Meera Syal appeared in the title role.  He has worked at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith and National Theatre where he directed the Pinter double bill Landscape and A Slight Ache in 2008.

For further information please contact Nada Zakula in the RSC Press Office on 01789 412622 or nada.zakula@rsc.org.uk

For regional enquiries or press tickets for Stratford please contact Dean asker on 01789 412660 or dean.asker@rsc.org.uk

• Photograph of Meera Syal by Jillian Edelstein available on request

• Twitter #WSFMuchAdo

The World Shakespeare Festival (WSF) is a celebration of Shakespeare as the world's playwright, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, in an unprecedented collaboration with leading UK and international arts organizations. It runs from 21 April to November and forms part of London 2012 Festival which is the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad, bringing leading artists from all over the world together in a UK-wide festival in the summer of 2012. For further details visit the WSF website. The World Shakespeare Festival is supported by BP, as founding Presenting Partner, and by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor and Arts Council England.

WSF social media links at Facebook and Twitter.

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